In 1959 the young British rider, Mike Hailwood, seemed to have destiny on his side. He was an extraordinarily talented rider, his father, Stan Hailwood, an extremely wealthy man, provided him with financial backing and connections in the biking world. Only one thing was missing – the right bike. With the creation of the Ducati 250, Mike, one of the greatest racers of all time, began his legendary relationship with Ducati.
At Hailwood Sr.’s request, Taglioni prepared a fine twin cylinder for the young rider, a 250 with a bore and stroke 55.25 x 55 mm, the same as the 125 desmo valve gear. The distribution was driven by a central gear train. The finished bike delivered 37 HP at 11,600 revs and was equipped with a twin tube cradle frame.
Ducati’s “old guard” still recalls Mike with tremendous admiration. In many ways, as seems to happen whenever strong and independent personalities interact, he drove Taglioni crazy (“Doctor T” once said, as a joke, that Mike’s long feet ruined the look of “his” bikes), but the affection between the two was remarkable. Taglioni saw scores of heroes and champions come and go, but his core recollections always go back to Mike.
The 250 twin, completed in 1960, basically consisted of two DOHC 125 cylinder head and block units joined together. With the exception of Hailwood, not many private riders of the time were lucky enough (or rich enough) to own such a machine.